Smoky Bacon and Lochnagar Biscuits
Donated by Ellie Flather at The Birse Bakery
Sometimes you just need a biscuit. One that’s warm from the oven and pillow-soft in the middle. These particular scruffy-looking biscuits have become a recent obsession of mine, owing in great part to the fact that they’re incredibly easy to throw together. They’re also studded with bits of smoky bacon and flavoured with Cambus O’May’s nutty and satisfying Lochnagar cheese.
-Makes about 18 small biscuits or 10 large biscuits
-6 slices (5 oz) thick-cut bacon, diced
-6 oz plain flour
-5 oz wholemeal flour
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
-3/4 teaspoon salt
-4 oz frozen unsalted butter
-4 oz grated Lochnagar cheese
-8 oz buttermilk
-Preheat the oven to 450°F.
-Place a cast-iron or stainless steel skillet over medium heat and fry the bacon until just crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and allow it to drain on a paper towel. Pour off all but one tablespoon of the bacon fat into a heat-proof bowl and reserve.
-In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Pulse several times to thoroughly combine. Quickly cut the frozen butter into large chunks with a sharp knife and add these to the food processor. Pulse food processor 8-10 times until meal is finely ground (be careful – the flour bounces up at first).
-Pour flour and butter mixture into a medium-sized bowl and stir in the bacon, cheese, and chives. Add the buttermilk all at once. Using a spatula or fork, gently mix until you see no more dry flour. Sprinkle a little flour on the counter and dump the dough on top. Sprinkle a little more flour on top and use your hands to quickly pat the dough into a circle about 1/2 – 1 inch thick, depending on how thick you like your biscuits. Use a biscuit cutter, circular cookie cutter, or the rim of a glass to cut out biscuit shapes. Transfer to the skillet used to cook the bacon. Reform the dough and cut more biscuits until the dough has all been used.
-Brush the tops of the biscuits with reserved bacon fat (or melted butter) and bake for 18-20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
-Let the biscuits cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack until dinner time. Store leftovers in a sealed container for several days. These make an excellent snack on the go.